FILE - Denver, Colorado Apartments

In this June 29, 2016 photo, new apartment buildings line a street in trendy downtown Denver.

(The Center Square) — Colorado’s largest apartment trade organization said on Tuesday that Denver City Council’s plan to create a rental licensing program will increase the cost of housing.

The council is considering an ordinance, the “Healthy Rentals for All License Program,” that if passed would require landlords of certain long-term rental properties to obtain a license from the city in order to do business.

“If the Denver City Council is truly committed to creating more affordable housing, several solutions exist that would benefit the entire community, such as reducing barriers to building, loosening zoning restrictions or increasing housing vouchers that will allow more housing to be built,” Drew Hamrick, senior vice president of government affairs for the Colorado Apartment Association (CAA), said in a statement.

The licenses would be renewable every four years, unless ownership of the property changes. According to the ordinance’s draft, landlords must obtain a license for each parcel of land they own, rather than issuing one license per housing provider.

License fees would range from $50 per parcel for landlords who rent a single unit up to $500 per parcel for landlords who own 200 units or more, the draft says.

The bill, sponsored by City Council President Stacy Gilmore, District 11, would also require all properties to be inspected by a city agent to ensure compliance with the city’s habitability ordinances. 

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, District 9, introduced an amendment that would apply the license fee evenly to small and large landlords. She said that would ensure landlords on both sides of the spectrum can benefit.

However, Hamrick argued that the provisions won’t help the city provide more affordable rental units. He said it is “the equivalent to requiring that plumbers have a different license for each sink.”

 “While many say they are proponents of creating affordable housing, this is just another example of several proposals, bills, and ordinances that will lead to more expensive rental housing,” Hamrick added.

The bill is on the City Council's agenda again for Monday.